Member since 1991
I had the privilege of auditioning for the Shanghai Conservatory when China held its first ever open auditions. Before that, they always accepted you based on your family background. After the auditions, they put a big sign outside in calligraphy that listed who got in and who didn’t. I was accepted and began attending the Conservatory in middle school. This was a truly exciting time in my musical career.
On coming to San Francisco:
I had some connections here before I joined the Orchestra. When Isaac Stern visited China in 1979, I played in a master class that was in his movie From Mao to Mozart. I first came to this country for a sister-city exchange program with the conservatories of Shanghai and San Francisco. The late Symphony patron Agnes Albert sponsored my stay in San Francisco.
Advice for aspiring musicians:
Practice! You’ll be freer to express yourself and your musical ideas if you aren’t struggling with technical issues, and the only way to get past such difficulties is through practice and hard work. Also, we live in a place with so much culture—San Francisco is amazing. If you try to absorb at least some of those cultural influences, it will help build your musicality. This is something that I’m always telling my daughter.